May 10, 2017 By Regina Pratt
Counsel for the appellants in the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) faction case, Lawyer Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, has prayed that the Appeals court judges rule on a re-run or annul results of lower level elections conducted in 39 constituencies last year.
He made the call yesterday (Tuesday, May 9, 2017) while responding to questions from the Appeals court Judges, after presenting a synopsis of his case before Justice Reginald Sydney Fynn, Justice Alusine Sesay and Justice Alan B. Halloway.
Lawyer Tejan-Sie noted that the background of his case was recorded in pages 1-4 of the court’s record.
He reiterated that lower level election results of the 39 constituencies should be nullified because there were parallel lists in those constituencies, adding that the elections conducted by the District Chairmen were not signed by the Regional Chairmen, which he argued, was not the normal procedure.
He said the district chairmen went ahead to conduct another elections thereby creating room for two executives in those constituencies.
He argued that the contending issues before the court were that, which rules and regulations should have been used to conduct the lower level elections, noting that there was evidence of objections before the court.
“I submit that the respondents never contended that the Political Parties Registration Commission did not receive any objection,” he said, citing page 1,662 of the court records.
On the issue of the SLPP 1995 Constitution, Lawyer Tejan-Sie submitted that the trial Judge in the High Court, Justice Babatunde Edwards, failed to adequately consider the provisions of the party’s constitution with regards the conduct of the lower level elections, despite references made.
To support his claim, lawyer Tejan-Sei cited clauses 4(e) 4, 4(e) 7, and 4(7) 5 of the SLPP 1995 Constitution as amended.
The appellant’s counsel further submitted that the published rules and regulations contravened key positions of the party constitution dealing with lower level elections.
He said the totality of documentary evidence and oral testimonies submitted in the judgement given in the High Court against them overweigh the evidence given.
In his response, lead counsel for the 2nd to 6th respondents, Lawyer Umaru Napoleon Koroma, said the elections conducted in all 112 constituencies represented the voice of the people of Sierra Leone.
He cited pages 1-3 of his argument, filed before the court to support his claims.
He submitted that no objections were made to the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) with regards the election, and that the plaintiffs were not able to adduce enough evidence to convince the High Court judge that those objections were made and received by the PPRC.
He noted that the High Court judge had supported his judgment with case laws & precedencies, and that the judge was correct in law and facts.
He argued that there was no amended rules as the Judge was correct to state that no objection was sent to PPRC pursuant to Section 24(2)a of the PPRC Act No. 3 of 2002.
On the issues in page 1798 Vol 4, Lawyer Koroma submitted that the judge had not diverted his mind to the provisions of the party constitution, and that the document they had wanted to tender was a forged document, noting that there were sufficient evidence that the judge arrived at the correct decision.
He concluded by calling on the court to dismiss the appellant’s hearing and order them to return cost as the respondents were all executive members of the party.
One of the judges, Justice Alusine Sesay, cautioned that the court was yet to determine the case and that nobody should talk about it on the media.
“We have not said anything and that nobody should do anything to ridicule the court,” he said.
On his part, Justice Reginald Sydney Fynn noted that any attempt to talk about the case would prejudice the outcome of the appeal, thus urging SLPP members to stay calm until judgment is handed down.
He stated that notices would be sent to both parties for ruling on the matter.
It could be recalled that a faction within the SLPP took the party executive to the High Court on allegations that the lower level elections held in 39 constituencies were marred by irregularities.
The High Court ruled that the elections were free and fair but the complainant in the matter were dissatisfied with the judgment, thus seeking Appeals Court intervention.